The Savile Row tailor tells ian wright why he’s wholesaling his ready-to-wear, and how things have changed on the Row.
You’ve made the Ready to Wear line available to other retailers – why now?
We have spent the last eleven years building up the bespoke. When we opened we did not want to rush off in different directions without having a solid base. A decade or so on and I feel we have achieved that so it was time to look at other ways to expand and grow the business without neglecting the bespoke – moving into the ready to wear side really ticks all the boxes.
What can retailers expect from the RTW line?
It’s taken two years to get the product to where we were happy with the line and balance of the garments but I do feel it encompasses the best of our bespoke clothing. For example the coats are cut with natural shoulders, high armholes with a long line through the side seams leading to a comfortable yet fitted suit. The collar and sleeve areas which are often neglected at ready to wear level are quite frankly superb.
What have you got in store for AW13? Any new product or fabric developments?
Autumn winter 13,we are looking at introducing a high twist wool travelling suit with incredible performing qualities in terms of non creasing and maintaining its line. Also suiting in milled finished worsteds, elegant mohairs plus of course a classic single breasted covert overcoat which we will twin with a double breasted navy wool topcoat. A selection of Scottish tweeds, velvets and velvet cords will also feature.
What sets Richard Anderson apart on Savile Row?
I think we sit nicely in between the older more traditional houses, e.g.: Huntsman, Henry Poole and the more modern Savile Row brands such as Richard James. What we wanted to achieve when we opened a decade or so ago was to take with us when we left Huntsman the quality of the cut and make of the garments and the level of service those type of customers would expect but to put those factors into a more contemporary, if you like, less intimidating surroundings. I would like to think we have gone some way to achieve that.
What’s your take on off the peg versus made to measure versus bespoke tailoring?
It really is a question of value at every level. We quite often find it is a stepping stone to the next level, for example a customer would buy one of our ready to wear suits enjoy the look and progress onto the custom and very often bespoke.
In the 11 years you’ve been on Savile Row, how have you seen it change?
With more designer brands coming into the Row it has over the last decade or so become more of a shopping street as opposed to a destination street. It’s a double edged sword – of course I would love Savile row to be full of buoyant tailoring houses but that hasn’t been the case for decades. What these new brands offer is an increase in footfall which is of course a good thing however the rental issue needs to be followed closely.
Working on Savile Row, do you live in suits?
Of course, we all wear suits at work and I will normally change at least once a day. It’s actually a very good way of promoting a new fabric or design. At the weekend it’s more casual, cord and tweed jackets with a pair of our own brand jeans.
How hands on are you now?
In fact nothing’s really changed in that respect since we opened. I still do all the cutting and fitting of the bespoke garments.
What’s next for you and your brand?
On the bespoke side it would be great to have a new workshop to enable us to take on a couple more apprentices and on the ready to wear side a standalone shop.
What would ‘dress-down Friday’ at Richard Anderson look like?
Me in a single breasted navy 12oz cotton suit, button 1, 2vents with a bootleg cut to the trouser, 2pleats and a heavy 2 inch turn up. Brian Lishak in a 14 oz single breasted mustard tweed coat an trousers and Clive Gilles in a navy serge double breasted blazer twinned with a straight legged red cord trousers.
Who in the public eye do you think wears a suit well?
Your day usually begins with…
Twenty sit ups, twenty press ups, shower, breakfast and out.
If you could wear one brand for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My own of course.
How do you switch off after a hard day designing?
I have four children so there’s always something going on and certainly keeps you on your toes, plus I run my fifteen year old sons football team and that I find gives me a nice balance on things.
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
I guess it would be nice to include a couple of my actor customers in this one, Benicio del Toro or Kiefer Sutherland, however my wife reckons Robert Downey Jnr.
What would be on the soundtrack of that movie?
A liberal sprinkling of 80s soul, a dollop of punk and lashings of Motown.
Whose personal style do you admire?
Singer Brian Ferry, stylist William Gilchrist, Duke of Beaufort, Andre Leon Talley.
DB or SB?
Three, two or one button blazer?